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Eye catching Personal statement opening sentences

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  1. Offline

    Sorry to start the thread, but I am begining to write my PS now, and believe I need an eye catching begining, because on all the 'good' personal statements i've seen they dont go straight into talking about the course, rather they usually give anecdotal evidence about something or rather that made them interested in the subject.

    Anybody got any tips, ideas, or can anybody share theirs with me?

    Oh yeah, Im applying to do Biochemistry @ Oxford, Warwick, Bath, Imperial, Bristol & York

    Any advice gratefully recieved, cheers.
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    Personally I think its more important for your personal statement to sound genuine than for it to be eye catching. My tutor told us that the admissions department read them at least twice and that they are read by more than one person.

    That said it is good to start off by saying why you want to do the course and if a short anecdote will help then put it in.
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    Why not look at a few personal statement websites such as:



    to look at a few examples of how some applicants started off their personal statements. Quotes seem to be quite popular but make sure it fits in with your personal statement and is something that you'll be able to expand on and link it in with whatever else is in your statement. Don't just chuck them in there for the sake of it. Perhaps a brief explanation of the main reason why you want to study the subject or any major event that led you to become interested in the subject.

    It is quite hard to get a catchy first line at the beginning but once you started noting down things you want to include in your personal statement, eventually it'll come naturally.

    Good luck
  4. Offline

    Don't get too hung up on it. It's only one sentence! Write the rest of it, and then you'll have more ideas.
  5. Offline

    Do the rest of it first, and you'll get some ideas while you are doing that.
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    (Original post by Nathan_Ley3)
    Sorry to start the thread, but I am begining to write my PS now, and believe I need an eye catching begining, because on all the 'good' personal statements i've seen they dont go straight into talking about the course, rather they usually give anecdotal evidence about something or rather that made them interested in the subject.

    Anybody got any tips, ideas, or can anybody share theirs with me?

    Oh yeah, Im applying to do Biochemistry @ Oxford, Warwick, Bath, Imperial, Bristol & York

    Any advice gratefully recieved, cheers.
    My ex girlfriend is studying Biochem at Oxford. Her PS Started with "My childhood unleashed a desire to know how things worked and why things happened; this soon flourished into a more specific interest in science; and later biochemistry."
  7. Offline

    Once upon a time...

    But more seriously, I personally think that the first line of your personal statement should be about why you are passionate about the subject. Also, a little tip, don't say "I am passionate about this, because.." say something like "My passion for this subject has developed from..." (basically try not to use 'I', use 'my'

    Hope this helps

  8. Offline

    My style at least tends to mean that i usually dive straight into the piece, not providing summarizations of my techniques, nor abilities. But getting straight to the information that they want to learn about; which tends to be your unique personal attributes, desire and appropriateness for the course.
  9. Offline

    I've began mine talking about the issue relating to my subject (Pharmacy) and said something on the lines of how the drugs of today are improving and whats fascinates me. Subject choose and w/e was the longest part

    Many people are beginning to use quotes, it is become increasingly more common.
  10. Offline

    put something that sounds genuine, quotes (most of them) sound really pretentious. i think the actual content is much more important and this is the part that should be impressive/eye-catching and different rather than ur opening sentence
  11. Offline

    My friend actually quoted himself.

    I wouldn't advise doing that, but it was pretty funny.
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    i made up a little story for the opening, about a little autistic girl i saw crying whilst volunteering at a playscheme. then at the end of the ps, i mentioned the girl again, saying how i wanted to be given the chance to wipe away her tears, and i could do that by fulfilling my aspiration of becoming a psychologist.

    corny but effective.
  13. Offline

    "i AM the latest undiscovered academic talent in the UK!" that should do it.
  14. Offline

    I used "I have been enthused to...", worked for me!
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    I've seen many a genuine, expressive, heartfelt and interesting PS completely ruined by an attempt to come up with an 'eye-catching', 'interesting' or 'different' opening. Don't use quotes, song lyrics, poetry of any kind, anything to do with your childhood or family, forced alliteration or other self-conscious linguistic devices. Be truthful, be relevant and, above all, be yourself.

    You don't have much space, so get to the point quickly. It isn't an essay, it isn't an magazine article - it isn't an auto-biography. Make the first sentence relevant to your subject, and make sure each phrase thereafter adds value to your application. I chose to put down which part of the subject I was most interested in and why, then gave qualifying evidence of my interest and motivation for studying it. The tutors aren't asking to be entertained, and the more difficult you make it for them to extract the information they want, the less inclined they will be to do so. Don't make it hard for them - trying to spice up your personal statement is like writing a rainbow-coloured, multi-fonted CV: it looks childish and gives the impression you are trying to compensate for (real or imagined) shortcomings in your application. Put your evidence forward and let it speak for itself. Don't hinder your attempt at what is already an awkward and difficult task by trying to be different from anyone else: the admissions tutors do this job every year - the only kind of PS tactic that they haven't yet seen a hundred times is probably a really bad one.

    And for the love of God don't put any jokes in! Good luck!
  16. Offline

    Oh, and I thought of something else to shoot my mouth off about: remember who you are and who your audience is. You are a teenage student applying for a university course, they are pretty much seasoned experts in everything to do with that course, so don't purport to tell them anything about their own subject, because they will either already know or spot an inaccuracies and misconceptions in your ideas. By all means offer up a couple of your (considered) thoughts about something that interests you, but make sure you present them as your own fledgling opinions, and use disclaimers in the manner of 'it seems/appears that...' or 'I have found/noticed...', but don't make a prat of yourself by appearing to think you have authoritative statements to make which, to the tutors, may blindingly obvious/wrong.

    I'm sure that most of this seems elementary, but it's surprising what strange, out-of-character things people do under the pressure of having to write about themselves.

    With apologies to the authors, if I just pluck the opening lines from the eight statements in the Law section of the Studential site, we have:

    'I first realised I wished to study law whilst reading a newspaper, when it suddenly occurred to me that every article was somehow related to the law.I remember thinking how amazing it was that such a diverse range of issues could be linked back to a single word.' - this is probably something the admissions tutors take for granted, and therefore it does not add value to the statement. In addition, the writer runs the risk of seeming a little slow in realising the extent of the law's relevance to news. Most people think their subject is the most important and relevant one there is. The rest of this statement is very good, but contrasts heavily with the wide-eyed wonderment of the first lines.

    Similarly: 'Law effects our everyday lives almost without us noticing. If we look at the news, there is always an aspect of law up for debate. Ethical considerations are often brought to the forefront on topics such as cloning, abortion and gay rights. I find these debates fascinating as the complexity of law continues to astound me. ' There is good material in the body of the statement, and the closing paragraph starts off well but trips up at the end by seemingly misinterpreting the purpose of the PS and therefore the appropriate style:

    'I am looking forward to starting a law degree and am excited at the prospect of moving away from home. I feel that I am academically and socially equipped for all that university life has to offer and hope that you award me with the privilege of an offer from your university for my chosen course. '

    Profesh is an eloquent, sage-like presence on tsr but I personally feel he takes a massive risk with the opening:

    'The spectre of global terrorism is prevalent. Fundamental civil liberties are under threat, not only by those who seek to destroy our society, but also by those who have been charged with the task of safeguarding it. We are possibly entering a period of momentous constitutional change and legislative upheaval.'

    It could just be taken the wrong way. Happily, the sentiment becomes clear with the next line 'Therefore, it seems to me that the 21st century looks set to be both an exciting and crucial time in which to embark upon legal study.', and the rest of the statement positively reeks of enthusiasm, with great paragraphs like:

    'My work experience with the Crown Prosecution Service in Gloucester really fired and reinforced my enthusiasm for a career in Law. I had the opportunity to shadow administrators, solicitors and office clerks, observing critical procedures at every level: from case-work and preparation, all the way through to the excitement of litigation in the Crown Courts. This enabled me to lay to rest any sensationalised preconceptions (such as those arising from TV dramatisations) in favour of a more rounded insight into the legal field...'

    This shows his interest is very genuine, rather than based upon notions of the apparent glamorous or dramatic aspects of the profession.

    If these examples offend anyone I'll remove them at once, but my point is that one of the best ways to hone your personal statement is to read and evaluate as many others as you can, from all subject areas, trying to spot weaknesses and strengths and compare them to those of your own statement.
  17. Offline

    'Badgers are a lot like biochemists....'
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    Apparently my ps was very good. I applied last year for nursing, and got into the uni i wanted. And my college are putting my ps in the college ucas form pack. I didn't think it was so good, but everyone seemed to like it and it got me where i wanted to be! anyway if you want me to send it you, pm me, jo xxx
  19. Offline

    Are we allowed to write our interests?
  20. Offline

    Yes, in fact you should - show your personality, you're a well-rounded person, can relax/cope with stress, contribute to life of university, etc.
Updated: September 8, 2006
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